FORT FRANCES, Ont. – The Thief River Falls Norskies scored twice in the third period, including the equalizer with nine seconds left in regulation, before going on to edge the Fort Frances Lakers 5-4 in a shootout in the Superior International Junior Hockey League regular season opener for both sides at Ice for Kids Arena.
It took the Lakers just 64 seconds to open the scoring on this night as Julian Uryniuk put the home side on the board early.
Thief River Falls countered with the equalizer at 2:36 compliments of Cody Aarvig only to see Jordan Sgro supply his first SIJHL goal less than two minutes later for the home side.
A Fort Frances power play midway through the first allowed then to go up 3-1 when Damien Caringi collected his initial league tally.
Carigni then made 4-1 Lakers 11:44 into the second stanza as they went up by three.
The Norskies started their comeback in the final minute of the second as Parker Simonson pulled the visitors to within two entering the third.
In that session, Simonson added his second of the evening with 9:22 to go while teammate Johnny Bennis forced overtime late in regulation as he produced his first SIJHL goal.
After a five-minute OT, with the club’s skating three aside, solved nothing extra shots were needed to decide a winner.
The first two attempts by each side saw Carigni serve as the lone marksmen among the teams.
After Thief River Falls goaltender Brock Lefebvre stopped a third chance to keep his side in it, Johnny Bennis sneaked one past Lakers’ netminder Rob Ivy with his opportunity to keep the shootout going.
Following a Fort Frances miss, the Norskies’ Connor Schuster completed the comeback as he snapped the decider over Ivy’s glove to end it.
Mark Richter had two assists for the Lakers in defeat.
Shots on goal were 40-39 in Thief River Falls favour with the Norskies Lefebvre making 35 saves to pick up the win and Ivy stopping 36 in defeat to help his team salvage a point.
The two teams will finish off a home-and-home Saturday at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Thief River Falls at 7 p.m.
Photo credit: Clint Bruyere